What Responsibilities do Small Businesses Have with the Coronavirus Pandemic?

There has been a lot of attention paid to the global pandemic surrounding the coronavirus. Already, universities are sending their students home, the biggest sports leagues in the country are completely on hold, and many companies are considering having their employees work from home. This has led many people to ask the question of how exactly companies need to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

The first place small businesses need to start is by reviewing the current strategies and policies they have in place. It is important to consider the legal risk that companies are taking by having their employees come to work. If there isn’t an adequate response plan in place for the company, this might end up with multiple legal concerns coming from human resources. According to the Law Offices of Gerald F. Connor, “Dealing with an injury requiring medical attention is an urgent and serious matter” and this includes illnesses that might be acquired at work. One of the reasons why the coronavirus pandemic is so severe is that it might hide inside of someone’s body for up to two weeks before symptoms appear. As a result, people might be infected and may not know it. This means that individuals are able to unknowingly transmit this virus to other people that might come into contact with throughout the workplace.

On the positive side, as long as small businesses pay attention to their employee safety measures, they can minimize their risks as well as those of their employees. First, businesses need to stay up to date on the information that is being released by public health officials. If public health officials make detailed recommendations, they need to be followed. For example, many states have already stated that large gatherings should not take place. This is one of the reasons why the major sports leagues have shut down in the United States.

Next, small businesses must intensify their hygiene measures. There should be hand sanitizer stations available everywhere throughout the building. Then, managers must encourage employees to use these hand sanitizer stations on a regular basis. This will help reduce the spread of this virus throughout the workplace. Businesses also need to educate employees on how this virus is transmitted from person to person and the symptoms an infection might cause.

Finally, every small business needs to think about placing restrictions on having people at work. Some leaders might be concerned about appearing discriminatory; however, if they impose fact-based restrictions on when someone can come to work, everyone will understand that these are extraordinary times that require extraordinary measures. If there is a reasonable risk to the health and safety of others, employees can be told to stay home. Everyone needs to do their part to make sure that the healthcare system is not stressed to the point of breaking. This includes small businesses.

Alex Hamilton